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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: Nature, an Added Value to Tourism

Cuba, a tourist destination par excellence in the Caribbean, works to diversify offers to go beyond traditional sun and beach options.

In that regard, Cuba has the complement of a unique nature and can please the most demanding clients with such options as hiking, bird watching and ecotourism.

The Cuban archipelago has an area of 110,922 square kilometers, including 746 kilometers of coastline, and a general length of 1,250 kilometers from the westernmost Cabo de San Antonio to the easternmost Punta de Maisi.

In addition, 200 bays, about 2,000 keys and islets and 588 kilometers of beaches are also part of Cuba's tourism offers.

Among the most popular tours is the one that involves the eastern Sierra Maestra Mountain Range, which holds the Turquino Peak, the highest mountain, which is 1,974 meters tall.

That National Park, which covers 17,450 hectares, stands out for being full of rivers, forests, peaks, valleys, birds; however, this wonderful nature can also be found in other parts of Cuba.

Cayo Saetía. Pier
Cayo Saetía. Zebras
Cayo Saetía. Macaws

There are also emblematic places such as Valle de los Ingenios (Sugar Mills' Valley), a unique treasure of the development of the sugar industry where monuments, society and nature are mixed. It was declared a World Heritage Site.

In addition, Topes de Collantes, the Escambray Mountain Range, the national parks of Caguanes, the Guanahacabibes Peninsula, Viñales and the Alexander von Humboldt National Park are other sites of interest for holidaymakers.

The list also includes the Varahicacos Ecological Reserve, the Zapata Peninsula, Boca de Yumurí, El Yunque and the Archaeological Trail El Guafe.

On the other hand, approaching nature from a beach or a city adds value to the island's tourist product, which is supported by the growing interest of visitors in knowing the reality of Cuba's countryside and enjoying an almost pristine environment that calls incessantly for adventure.

Cuba's fauna consists of about 16,500 described species, in a context where some zoological groups show an endemism higher than 90 percent, while the native flora is made up of more than 6,300 varieties, in a multicolored panorama and the most diverse forms.

The cave systems are a complement to tourism, since specialized institutions account for more than 10,000 caves throughout the island, many of which have a history of some 25 million years.

In Cuba's westernmost province, Pinar del Rio, the cave system of Santo Tomas stands out, with more than 45 kilometers of galleries buried in the Quemados Mountain Range, and Cueva del Indio (the Indian's Cave).

Another underground option that has enjoyed great fame among foreign visitors and Cubans for many years is the Bellamar Cave, in Matanzas province.

With a total length of 23 kilometers and an age of 300,000 years, it is made up of three caverns, which are considered to be a single one in ancient times: Bellamar, El Jarrito and Soto Jibaro.

The long list of underground sites for visitors also includes the caves Cuyaguateje, Cable, Simon, Paredones, Los Tomates, Quintanal, Aston, Caguanes, Palmarito, La Patana, Jauco Tapas and Caleta del Rosario, among others.

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